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Mexican mother and autistic son contest deportation

Click to play video: 'Mexican mother and autistic son on the verge of deportation' Mexican mother and autistic son on the verge of deportation
WATCH ABOVE: A Mexican mother faces deportation along with her autistic son. Gabriela Villa says her 7 year-old won't be able to access the same resources in her home country. It's why they're appealing Canada's decision but as Sarah Volstad reports, time is running out – Feb 28, 2016

MONTREAL NORTH – Seven-year-old Nathan is a happy kid, but his life may soon change drastically. In March, his mother is set to be deported.

“This was a question asked officially by the CBSA: are you gonna leave him or are you gonna take him?” said Gabriela Villa, Nathan’s mother. “He’s not a suitcase.”

“Canada is one of the few countries in the Western world that will deport the parents of Canadian children,” said immigration lawyer Stewart Istvanffy, who has taken on Villa’s case.

Gabriela Villa arrived in Montreal from Mexico in 2007 and applied for refugee status. While she waited for her answer, she found out she was pregnant.

“Suddenly, I found myself with a baby in my arms and all I knew is that I had to protect him,” said Villa. “So I used every legal resource I had to try and stay here.”

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Unfortunately, her application was declined. She made other attempts to stay but, in November 2012, she was ordered to leave the country.

“All of my motherhood has been very difficult, in the providing aspect of it,” said Villa. “And I said: Ok, this is hard, right here. But if I go back, it’s going to be impossible.”

In the months that followed, not only was her application officially declined, but Nathan was diagnosed with autism. So, she decided to stay illegally.

“Crying, crying, crying, I couldn’t stop crying,” said Villa. “And my son would come to me like, it’s ok mom, it’s ok.”

Last October, Villa decided to try for permanent residency one more time. She is now facing deportation March 20th.

The Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) told Global News that an application for permanent residence based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds did not result in a stay of removal. They also added that anyone ordered to be removed from Canada is entitled to due process before the law, and that removal orders are subject to various levels of appeal.

“Unfortunately, we have a crazy system where even when you file a really good humanitarian application which is really well grounded with all sorts of support, the policy is to deport you first and maybe look at it later,” said Istvanffy.

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However, Villa said a move to Mexico could be highly detrimental to Nathan, who has recently made significant progress both academically and socially thanks to various services available to him here in Montreal — services his mother says he won’t receive in Mexico. Beyond that, she’s concerned for their safety.

“We made a request to removal officers to stop the deportation,” said Istvanffy, who believes the deportation can and should be stopped.

If it’s not, he recommends going to federal court on judicial review and asking a federal court judge to stop the deportation.

“We’re also asking the minister of immigration to intervene.”

A petition has also been launched to stop Villa’s deportation.

“Nathan is not just Nathan, Gabriela’s son, the woman who is about to be deported,” said Villa. “Nathan is Nathan Villa-Duhamel, who is a Canadian child, who has the Canadian rights of any other Canadian child.”

Nathan knows nothing of the uncertainty surrounding his near future, and his mother hopes that he’ll never have to.

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